Panthers Top 10 Prospects
1. Nathan Horton, C
2. Rostislav Olesz, C
3. Anthony Stewart, RW
4. Stefan Meyer, LW
5. Dany Roussin, C
6. Greg Campbell, LW
7. Lukas Krajicek, D
8. David Shantz, G
9. Rob Globke, RW
10. Kamil Kreps, C
The Florida Panthers have a youthful team and a new coach in Jacques Martin going into the 2005-06 season. An area of concern for the team is point production as they have struggled
in the past to net the puck. Only one player from the 2003-04 season, Olli
Jokinen, managed to score over 50 points. Florida may be looking for a sniper to
play on the left wing alongside Jokinen and youngster Nathan Horton.
The Panthers are very strong in the net with all-star goaltender Roberto Luongo, who broke records for saves and shots faced in 2003-04, but he will need some help in front of him in order to continue his strong play. The addition of a crease-clearing, stay-at-home defenseman would be very useful for the organization.
The Panthers system is very strong down the middle, with three of the organization’s top prospects listed at center: Nathan Horton, Rotislav Olesz, and Dany Roussin. Florida is stocked with sizeable forwards who are more than willing to play an aggressive, physical, style of play. Anthony Stewart, Rob Globke, and Horton all clearly fit the mold of power forwards and all three will play professional hockey at the start of the 2005 season.
Roussin was drafted as a center, but his strong play in Rimouski with the projected first overall pick in the 2005 NHL Entry Draft, Sidney Crosby and Edmonton prospect Marc Antoine Pouliot, makes him a good candidate to stay at wing as well. Another player who was drafted as a left wing, Stefan Meyer, has played solid for the Medicine Hat Tigers as a center. Both will need to be signed this week or go back into the draft.
Since the graduation of Jay Bouwmeester, the Panthers do not have a top notch defensive prospect. This past season Lukas Krajicek did not play as well as anticipated in the AHL, and Filip Novak struggled to come back from missing an entire season of hockey due to injury. Depth at goaltending is another issue. David Shantz played well when getting playing time in the OHL, but was unable to secure the starting job, and he is the only goaltending prospect of note in the Panthers system.
It will be the second draft since Mike Keenan was hired as GM, but the first year he’s been involved from the start of the process. Thus, prior tendencies may or may not be telling in this case. In 2004, the Panthers took Czech centerman Rostislav Olesz with its top pick (seventh overall), the only European amongst their seven selections.
Florida has a youthful team and this may prompt Keenan to trade away picks for proven players who can act as leaders. Keenan has been known to prefer consistent players with good work ethic.
The Panthers will have a late pick in the first round, with the 29th selection, and then
will have their second choice three picks later as the order of selection flips.
Player most likely to be taken
with first selection (Hockey’s Future staff mock draft result):
Scott Jackson, D
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